Speaker Meeting 8th May 2017

Martin Butchers from Smith of Derby - What makes us tick

Church Wilne Rotary members welcomed Martin Butchers of Smith of Derby to its speaker meeting at the Royal Oak, Ockbrook on Monday 8th May whose talk was about large clocks and "What makes us tick"

The company was founded 160 years ago, has a rich heritage and is still a family business with 8 family members and a further 68 staff.

The business is unique as they still manufacture, maintain, repair and service around 4,500 clocks every year. They have many private commissions and restorations and Martin spoke about many of these with supporting photographs.

When maintaining the clocks they prefer to bring them back onto site in Derby as this is always more practical. But on many occasions they have to have up to 4 of their aerial team who abseil down to do the work and yes, health and safety is of paramount importance.

Working on site to restore a clock

Working at the factory

Typical restoration will include getting the clock face back to the bare bone, followed by having 3 coatings, then into the oven, followed by working on the dials and often with gold gilding all of which is labour intensive and the view of the finished clock face was amazing.

In 1893 Smith of Derby did restoration on St Paul's Cathedral London and you can see via their web site that health and safety was not adhered to then but there were no accidents.

Martin spoke about several commissions including one at a hotel in Wales, the two at London St Pancras station, the Ebbw Vale 10 metre high clock, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the UAE, which also indicates the five daily prayer times.

The bespoke clock at Fortnum and Mason in St Pancras Station

The clock at St Pancras a replica of the original clock

The clock at the Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah
This includes the 5 rotating prayer rings to show
the exact minute of each prayer throughout the day.

The Light Clock at Royal Derby Hospital
Inspired by Florence Nightingale - the lady of the lamp.

Private commissions for the Middle East will often include gold and diamonds and can be made in any type of material and finish.

Stephen Woolley gave the club's vote of thanks and said we have learned much about the magnificent time pieces tonight manufactured by Smith of Derby and we are fortunate to have such an iconic business on our doorstep.

For more information on Rotary, our speaker evenings, events and the main activities organised by our club please contact our Secretary, Mick White at: rccw1220@gmail.com

Ray Terry
For the Rotary Club of Church Wilne

24th April 2017


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